This morning I awoke and had the go-ahead to suggest something very radical. The Buck Institute, and Alcohol Justice, should concentrate on helping Native Americans combat alcoholism. I see the story of Samson the Nazarite employed as a twelve step spiritual program that empowers Native Americans in a Judeo-Christian society, while at the same time inventing a new tribal way of life, that will establish a respect for alcohol by promoting the making of sacred wine.
I do not get the Buck Foundation getting into scientific and abstinence solutions via trying to regulate the alcohol industry. These efforts are not producing results. A foundation worth 1.7 billion dollars should be able do something – that works!
Henry Brevoort was a trailblazer in trying to establish sane relationships with dirt poor Native Americans. I see vineyards on the hills surrounding the Buck Institute. I see science aiding the NAs in making a wine that will surpass anything PlumpJack makes. It is claimed NAs have a DNA disposition that makes them susceptible to ingesting alcohol. They did not have a long history of its use that builds up a immunity. They have the shortest life-span in America.
I see a College of Native Americn Economics, that will use Henry Buck as a model. Henry harvested fruit and trees. He pumped oil out of the ground. He exploited our nation’s resources. He was a Knight Templar Mason and member of the Bohemian Club. I see the first Native American Stock Market and Business Club.
The Jewish Tribes have used wine in practicing their ancient vegetation religion. John Astor exploited animal pelts, and built Astroria Oregon. It’s time to legitimize the cosmology of peoples who were here long before us. This is what Beryl Buck wanted. Her ancestors were very tribal. They shared the wealth amongst themselves. They left their life-savings, and their stock to one another so they would be fruitful a multiply. Beryl Buck broke the chain. She wanted to empower outsiders less fortunate then herself, and her illustrious family. It’s time to create a Creative and Enduring Tradition.
President: Royal Rosamond Press.
Brevoort writes that he had sent Irving’s
volume to Scott “in return for some very rare
books that he gave me respecting the early
History of New England. ‘ ‘ These books were
presented to Brevoort as a result of conversa-
tions in which Brevoort had related to Scott
presumably those very experiences among the
Indian nations which are recorded in the mis-
sives written to Irving from Mackinac. Scott
haid at one time inten’ded to write on the Ameri-
can Indian, but later gave up the idea; and
finding how much immediate and personal
information Brevoort had on this subject, he
donated to his young American friend his own
rare books on early New England history, in
the hope, no doubt, that Brevoort himself
would some day issue some such work as had
been the subject of their conversations. This
hope played through Brevoort’s mind at
various intervals throughout his life; and,
when we consider his decided talent for writing,
we must regret that later cares and responsi-
bilities prevented its fruition.
Up until about 1809, even though Mackinac Island flew the American flag, the traders doing business on what was then muddy Market Street had all, or almost all, been connected with the dominant firm of Canadian Montreal, McTavish’s North West Company. American public hostility toward Great Britain was rising, however. In Washington, President Thomas Jefferson had signed a series of economic sanctions laws, of which the most famous was the Embargo Act that cut off almost all trade between the United States and British Canada. Mr. Brevoort’s letters show that these laws had begun to bite, and show what Mr. Astor and his associates were trying to do in order to fight back.
The young advocate’s letters are totally on the side of the Native Americans.
“The Indian Nations of the interior,” he tells his well-connected New York friend, Washington Irving, “have always been recognized by the American government in their treaties with them as independent people, beyond the jurisdiction of their laws . . . but the existing [American] law has no exception in their favor whatever.”
In Mr. Brevoort’s eyes, the fur traders had a perfect right to import factory-made goods from across the Atlantic, and the “Indian Nations” had a perfect right to buy them, but the soldiers at Fort Mackinac, on top of the hill overlooking Market Street, did not see things this way.
“All European goods destined to the trade of [the] New South West American Fur Company are now and soon will be at St. Joseph’s, a British post 45 miles from hence,” the New York merchant complained, “and no hope is entertained that [the] government will grant them admission.”
What made this even more galling is that the Native Americans who Mr. Brevoort was meeting needed the British cloth and guns. Members of many different tribes were congregating on Mackinac Island’s shores that summer, but “with the exception of two or three nations who inhabit the Plains where Buffalo are numerous,” he reported, “the bow [and arrow] and Indian clothing are in total disuse.” The fur trade, and other contacts with the Euro-American frontier, had already begun to wreak their effects upon the culture of the interior of North America.
The McTavish family had tried to fight back against the embargo laws by setting up a “joint venture” on Mackinac Island. In the summer of 1811, the North West Company’s trading interests south of the international boundary were in the process of being transferred to the “New South West American Fur Company,” and the fledgling firm, examining its balance sheets, had just built a large new warehouse on Market Street to hold not only furs, but also the cloth, guns, and other goods that the joint venture wanted to sell – the cloth and guns that had replaced bows, arrows, and “Indian clothing.”
This trade would have been seriously profitable, if the guns of Fort Mackinac had let these British goods move the final 45 miles from Fort St. Joseph.
“I am surrounded by upwards of a score of Indian traders,” complained Mr. Brevoort, “who being cut off from their accustomed supplies of goods from the Company, are completely set adrift upon the wide world . . . . the whole blame will be thrown upon the American government.”
Mr. Brevoort’s final letter, dated July 29, 1811, warns his friend that the Native Americans of the Straits of Mackinac “are beginning to raise the war whoop.” Only a few miles south of the Canadian border, a wellconnected group of resentful merchants and workers, with strong connections to Native American tribes up and down the Upper Great Lakes, were developing feelings that were increasingly hostile to the government of the United States. Something would have to give.
And amazingly enough, it was in this grim, doubtful time and place of origin that one of Mackinac Island’s most beloved buildings was erected.
When the first wine grapes were planted in California by Spanish missionaries in the late 1700s, the Chumash people’s economic empire extended from the Malibu shores through Santa Barbara to the Paso Robles plains. But by the time the modern wine industry emerged on the Central Coast a couple centuries later, the Chumash were struggling, much like many Native American tribes. The few dozen who managed to achieve federal recognition as the Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians were left with a little slice of land, where most residents lived below the poverty line.
Fast forward to today, and the Chumash are once again propsering, thanks to a successful casino and resort they built on their Santa Ynez Valley reservation in 2004. Six years later, with hopes of expanding their reservation, the 154-member tribe bought a nearby 1,400-acre property for a reported $40 million from the late actor-turned-vintner Fess Parker. The land came with 256 acres of vines, the Camp Four Vineyard, planted with 19 different grape varieties. While honoring existing contracts for the fruit (one-third of it goes to the Parker family’s brands, while most of the rest is sold to about 70 small producers from all around the state), the Chumash started making their own wine, and released their first vintages of Kitá Wines last month.
While the project is the latest in a small but growing number of Native American tribes entering the wine business—including three in Northern California, one in Arizona, and one in British Columbia—the Chumash are the first to tap one of their own to run the show: Tara Gomez, the 40-year-old daughter of the tribe’s vice chairman.
“Our whole goal is to make some really outstanding wines,” said Gomez, who grew up in Santa Maria, studied enology at Allan Hancock College and Fresno State in the 1990s, interned with Fess Parker Winery, worked at J. Lohr in Paso Robles for nine years, and developed her own label, Kalawashaq’ Wine Cellars, on the side.
At this stage, she says she is still learning about Kitá’s vineyards. Gomez and assistant winemaker Tymari LoRe are meticulously following the progress of each lot from the past three harvests, including Sauvignon Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Syrah, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon from their Camp Four property and Pinot Noir they purchased from the Sta. Rita Hills. “We’re pretty anal,” she explained, while checking out charts that listed harvest times, yeasts, coopers, toast levels and the like. “Everything you can think of, we’ve done.”
The first Native American group in modern times to grow wine grapes was the Osooyos Indian Band of the southern Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. First planted in 1968 and then grafted over to French clones in the 1990s, the band’s 1,200 acres of vines mostly supply other producers, but they retain about 60 acres to make 18,000 cases a year under the brand Nk’Mip Cellars, which started in 2001.
In Arizona, members of the Yavapai-Apache Nation started Fire Mountain Wines in 2010 and, in California’s Sonoma County, two tribes of Pomo heritage both purchased vineyards in 2012: the 270-member Lytton Band, which own the San Pablo Casino in the Bay Area, spent $13.3 million to buy a 110-acre vineyard of Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay on 269 acres of land from Jordan Winery in the Alexander Valley, while the 1,000-member Dry Creek Band spent $24 million on 310 acres of land surrounding their River Rock Casino in Geyserville, including 130 acres of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer and Cabernet Sauvignon vines near the Russian River.
More inland, about an hour northwest of Sacramento in the Capay Valley, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation also got into vineyards as a way to diversify their business beyond their Cache Creek Casino. In 2012, the tribe became the first in California to release their wines, including a Viognier, Syrah rosé and two red blends under the Seka Hills label.
“It’s one of those stories handed down: If you take care of the land, it takes care of you,” said Yocha Dehe tribal chairman Marshall McKay, who sees the vineyard, winery and the tribe’s recently built olive mill as educational tools to teach sustainability to the community at large. “It’s an art that everybody should know: how to produce and take care of and harvest a crop, and use that crop.” It’s been challenging to integrate his people’s traditions into the marketing, but McKay explained, “We hope people will understand more about the tribe through that story.”
Back in Santa Ynez, the world’s first Native American winemaker remains optimistic yet realistically patient about what comes next. “We’re competing against hundreds and thousands of brands, but once we get established in the marketplace, we have all this room to grow,” said Gomez, motioning toward the seemingly endless rows of Camp Four Vineyard. “Until then, we’re going to stay small.” Her Kitá Wines project may be one small step for the Chumash tribe, but it’s an interesting leap for Native Americans. Vines imported by Europeans may now provide another avenue toward economic independence for some tribes while simultaneously protecting their ancestral homelands from further development.
Mary Ann Brevoort Bristol, the daughter of Major Henry B. Brevoort, spent much of her youth in Green Bay at Fort Howard, witnessing the interactions between the military, white settlers, and Indians. She describes here daily life in Fort Howard and the area around Green Bay as it appeared to a teenage girl in the 1820’s.
Native Americans in the United States have historically had extreme difficulty with the use of alcohol. Problems continue among contemporary Native Americans; 76.8% of the deaths among Native Americans and Alaska Natives are alcohol-related. Use of alcohol varies by age, gender and tribe with women, and older women in particular, being least likely to be regular drinkers. Native Americans, particularly women, are more likely to abstain entirely from alcohol than the general US population. Frequency of use among Native Americans is generally less than the general population, but the quantity consumed when it is consumed is generally greater.
Fur traders doing business with Native Americans in 1777, with a barrel of rum to the left.
A survey of death certificates over a four-year period showed that deaths among Native Americans due to alcohol are about four times as common as in the general US population and are often due to traffic collisions and liver disease with homicide, suicide, and falls also contributing. Deaths due to alcohol among Native Americans are more common in men and among Northern Plains Indians. Alaska Natives showed the least incidence of death. Alcohol abuse by Native Americans has been shown to be associated with development of disease, including sprains and muscle strains, hearing and vision problems, kidney and bladder problems, head injuries, pneumonia, tuberculosis, dental problems, liver problems, and pancreatitis. In some tribes, the rate of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder is as high as 1.5 to 2.5 per 1000 live births, more than seven times the national average, while among Alaska natives, the rate of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder is 5.6 per 1000 live births.
Native American youth are far more likely to experiment with alcohol than other youth with 80% alcohol use reported. Low self-esteem is thought to be one cause. Active efforts are underway to build self-esteem among youth and to combat alcoholism among Native Americans.[